There is an obvious need to talk about the scoring in the UFC 139 main event between Dan Henderson and Mauricio Rua, but the main emphasis should be on the bout itself. Henderson vs. Rua had every bit of drama that a fan of fight sports could ask for. It was two legends of MMA squaring off on the biggest stage the sport has to offer and giving everything they had, and possibly even leaving something of themselves in the cage. Wars like this are often not without long-term implications to the lives of the men involved, that is the risk of the game.
Dan Henderson hits with an incredible amount of power, so the fact that he was landing bombs on Shogun in round three and somehow Rua not only survived to the end of that round, but to take over the fight going forward is a show of such incredible fortitude that I don't feel that I can properly express it here.
There was no moment in the fight that didn't feel like something special was happening. Two men who could have (and really should have) fought years ago yet remained the equal of each other this night. This is a fight which will be talked about forever when debating the greatest fights this sport has ever seen and we now know that Henderson and Rua will forever be tied to each other for their courage and all-out styles in this clash.
- On to the scoring. It's hard to understand 48-47 across the board. That means that either no judge saw round 5 as 10-8 for Shogun when it clearly was due to his absolute control and damage to Henderson merely surviving or round 4 was scored 10-10 by all three judges. I could understand 47-46 for Henderson if you scored round three as 10-8 for Dan and five as 10-8 for Shogun, but it's hard for me to believe three judges scored a round 10-10 given the rarity of such scoring in MMA.
- One part of me desperately wants to see a rematch, another part of me wants to see both men move on to new (and potentially less damaging) things.
- I have no problem with the stoppage in the Wanderlei Silva vs. Cung Le bout. Silva was blowing Le up at the end and Le was simply holding on to Silva's leg and getting hit, he wasn't attempting to defend or finish the takedown. As I asked on Twitter, do you think Le could have answered a ten-count at that point in the fight? I know it's not boxing, but that's a big measuring stick used by MMA fans for the "safety" of MMA over boxing, that guys who are badly hurt and concussed don't take extra punishment just because they could stand up and walk forward to the ref before 10.
- Le had Silva fighting the wrong kind of fight for the majority of the bout but couldn't really capitalize. Silva remained at too far of distance which allowed Le to extend on his kicks. When Silva got inside he was able to use his punching attack without the same fear of kicks. Eventually, Le not taking advantage of distance meant that Silva got inside and crushed him.
- Urijah Faber really sat down on his punches tonight against Brian Bowles. The combination of speed and actually generating power made Faber too much for Bowles to handle. Faber will have to find a way to cut off the cage and generate that same kind of power in his third fight with Dominick Cruz though, which is no small task.
More thoughts after the jump.
- Martin Kampmann vs. Rick Story took a turn as soon as Kampmann made the adjustment of stepping inside when Story threw the right hand. That allowed Kampmann to step inside the punch and counter with his own right hand. From that point in the second round on, it was Kampmann's right that was landing with regularity. Story still did a nice job of letting his hands go but he got barely edged out in a very good fight on my card 29-28. Somehow one judge saw it 30-27 Kampmann while the others scored it 29-28 both ways for the split decision.
- Stephan Bonnar didn't give the exciting fight that fans wanted, but he dominated Kyle Kingsbury. Bonnar broke Kingsbury a little in round one by making him not just fight a stand-up fight but making it a gritty brawl. Kyle looked a bit uncomfortable there, and then once he started getting taken down by Bonnar he had nothing to give him. It was just a dominant performance by Bonnar in a fight where many expected the young up-and-comer to wear him out.
- Ryan Bader caught Jason Brilz in exactly the right spot. Overhand right behind the ear doesn't need to land hard, it just needed to land. Not much to say other than that Bader really needed to get back on the winning track.
- Does Joe Silva hate Alex Soto? Soto was in no way ready to deal with Michael McDonald. He got crushed by a force that was beyond his capabilities to handle.
- Chris Weidman is really, really good. Get him off the Facebook prelims please. People need to see the guy, he is going to be an absolute force.
- Miguel Torres looked pretty good. It was a controlled, professional performance. He isn't a wild brawler anymore which makes him less fun, but he was too vulnerable against the best in the world fighting in that style.
Photo of the night:
Photo via mmaspartan.com